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Turn left over rice into griddle cakes 剩米饭煎饼

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abcdefg

Roddy,

Any idea why the pictures are laid out with this kind of staggered, stair-step effect? I was unable to just put them into simple rows.

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somethingfunny

What kind of rice do you use?  Strangely, I always found the most extensively stocked type of rice in the supermarket to be some variant of 东北大米 despite the seemingly false yet pervasive myth that "In the South they eat rice and in the North they eat noodles."  Also, do you use a rice cooker?  If so, what kind of instructions do you follow?  I love rice, but hate cooking it because it can so easily go wrong if you get the water:rice ratio wrong.

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abcdefg

Excellent question, @Somethingfunny. Making good rice is important.

 

I always buy Dongbei rice 东北大米, medium grain. Usually costs about 9 Yuan a kilogram. I've bought it from the supermarket as well as from a specialty rice store that has many different kinds, red rice, brown rice, black rice and so on. Once asked the boss lady at the rice store about the geographic contradiction you mentioned. She said that south China produces more rice overall, but that Dongbei produces better quality.

 

She steered me away from buying long grain rice, saying it didn't get soft enough with normal cooking. And she also steered me away from the short grain rice by saying the opposite, that it became mushy.

 

I use a good electric rice cooker, Joyoung Brand 九阳。Have used several others before. This one is 4 Liter capacity, which is large enough to serve 4  people at dinner. It is easy to use because it has a thick-walled cast-iron pot, coated with some sort of non-stick substance.

 

The pot's heavy weight means it retains heat and the heating element doesn't have to switch on and off so many times. Temperature remains more constant. At least that's how the shopkeeper at the appliance store explained it. They had a premium model that was even heavier. Mine is a mid-level model. 三百多块钱。

 

I just use the old wives' recommendation of adding enough water for it to come up to the first joint on my index finger, the distal interphalangeal joint. That's with one cup of rice. But the inside of the bowl is calibrated with rice level marks and water level marks for preparing larger amounts. I use ordinary tap water, since it will be brought to a boil.

 

It turns off automatically when the rice is done, or rather it switches to 保温, a very low setting. Usually takes about 30 minutes and comes out good every time. I can tell if it's done by looking at the surface of the cooked rice; it should have lots of small steam holes. At that point, I give it a stir with a pair of chopsticks, re-close the lid and, if it won't be long till meal time, I unplug it from the wall.

 

One trick the lady at the rice store told me was to soak the rice before cooking. I wash the rice three times, discarding the water. Don't rub it with my hand or stir it like I would if making zhou 粥/ 稀饭。Just swirl it around gently and decant. Then soak it in the same water in which I will cook it for at least 15 minutes. She said this lets the rice grains absorb water gradually and swell, instead of becoming broken with the application of heat.

 

I'll come back in a minute and post some snapshots. (Or maybe tomorrow morning.)

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roddy

I've edited the post for you a bit. I think the problem was linebreaks between the images and trying to get them aligned to the left, deleted a few linebreaks and they're lining up better.

 

If you have 

<image1>

<image1>

<linebreak>

<image2>

<image2>

 

and  try to get the images floating to the left, it has to put the linebreak somewhere, so you end up with

 

<image1><linebreak>

<image1><image2>

                <image2>

 

If you remove the line break, you can get what you're looking for, which is

<image1><image2>

<image1><image2>

 

If you want horizontal space between the images uses spaces, I think - that won't force a new line.

 

Thanks, as always, for your photos and patience.

               

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abcdefg

Many thanks, Roddy. That's what I was trying to do. Looks good now.

 

I'll continue working with it; these tools always have a learning curve; no big deal.

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LiMo

This is a great idea. I was just feeling incredibly guilty for throwing away a large amount of left over rice. This happens a lot with my family. We cook too much rice then leave it, expecting that someone will eat it, but no one ever does. I myself am very wary of leftover rice, I had a bad experience. I will definitely be giving this a go soon. Cheers!

 

@somethingfunny

 

Rice can be difficult. It can vary depending on what kind of rice you have. I often get long grain basmati which can be quite difficult to cook. You must soak it for 30min first. I think it's normally good practice to soak your rice first although it's not imperative for other varieties. I use the 1:2 ratio of rice to water although I think it's more like 1:1.8 or something like that. I put one cup of rice and then two cups of water, or two cups of rice and a little under four cups of water(four is always a bit too much). A trick I sometimes use when the rice is a bit too soggy (but not yet mush) is to leave it on a low heat with the lid off.

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abcdefg
Quote

>>" A trick I sometimes use when the rice is a bit too soggy (but not yet mush) is to leave it on a low heat with the lid off."

 

Good tip, @Somethingfunny. I used to sometimes do that too, before this present electric rice cooker. And it's why I still do that quick peek at the very end of the cooking cycle to see if the surface of the cooked rice is perforated by lots of very small steam holes. (If it's not, I let it cook a little longer.) But I must say, I've found my last three electric rice cookers to be extremely "smart" about the timing. They seldom get it wrong.

 

Like you, I use the "two parts water to one part rice" when making it on the stovetop with a saucepan back in Texas. But here I have not found the need to be terribly exact. I think the most important variable is the kind of rice one uses, though I've never seen any serious proof of that hypothesis.

 

Quote

>>" I myself am very wary of leftover rice, I had a bad experience."

 

@LiMo -- What kind of bad experience did you have from leftover rice? Do you mean you got sick from it? I use it up to 3 or 4 days old; but not if it has been in the fridge a week. Then I just throw it out.

 

Leftover rice can easily be used in fried rice or converted into zhou/xifan 粥/稀饭。I plan to cover those options in an upcoming report. But these rice cakes have a little more pizzazz and panache.

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LiMo

@abcdefg 

I took some leftover rice to uni, during summer, and ended up quite sick. It seems obvious that it was a bad idea now. Anyway, I suppose our main problem is that our fridge is often overfilled so it's hard to find space for leftovers. I am overcautious though, I guess I'll just have to work on it. I look forward to further posts on this subject. :)

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Shelley

I suspect I shall be on the receiving end of much scolding when I admit I don't follow any rules:nono when it come to cooking rice!! I know- how terrible:shock:

 

Fill the pan with water 3/4 full about 2 pints, add 4 handfuls of American easy cook long grain rice when the water is boiling, stir occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom, Check if it is cooked every so often, when done drain excess water off in a colander, and hey presto ready to go, never had a bad batch of rice.

 

Complaints and admonishments on a post card please:wink:

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Bigdumogre

Shelley OMG!!! :P

 

thats td a great idea since I always have leftover rice. 

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abcdefg

No scolding, Shelley, but I think what you are describing is boiled rice. Chinese mainly make steamed rice or 米饭。I've read that boiled rice is popular in India. And, just wondering now, not being critical, is "easy-cook rice" some kind of specially-treated or pre-cooked rice grains similar to "instant rice" or "five-minute rice?" I have not encountered that term before.

 

When accompanying local friends to their home towns and villages over the years, I've had a chance to see other ways of preparing rice, without the use of a rice cooker, very often over a simple wood fire. One of the most memorable techniques involves starting out boiling the rice briefly in a large wok, then scooping it into a large wooden cylinder that is set on legs above the water to steam. The bottom of this wooden drum 筒 is fine bamboo mesh and it is topped with a conical woven bamboo "hat" which resembles the kind coolies traditionally wear in picture postcards.

 

wooden rice drum.JPGrice hat.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes a mother will scoop out some of the rice water near the end of the process and give it to young children to drink warm as a beverage, especially if the kids are lactose intolerant. It contains both flavor and nutrients from the rice. Making rice that way and having it come out tender and flavorful requires lots of practice. An electric rice cooker, on the other hand, is really easy to use.

 

In southern Yunnan, Honghe Prefecture 红河州 and Xishuangbanna Prefecture 西双版纳州,rice is sometimes cooked in sections of hollow bamboo 竹筒饭 placed directly over a low fire or even right in the coals. The rice is often combined with bits of meat and vegetables to make it more interesting.

 

zhutong fan.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another humble village "rice trick" I remember well is to make boiled glutinous 糯米 rice just before Spring Festival. The rice is simply boiled in water until it gets thick and most of the water is gone. Then it is used to paste couplets 贴对联, guardian figures 门神, and the numerous lucky paper ornaments 福子 to the walls and doors. After the "pasting" is done, Dad and the boys set off strings of fire crackers 放鞭炮。

 

duilian.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From what I have seen, making good rice here in China depends not just on selecting a type of raw rice from among several possibilities or selecting a specific cooking technique from among the options. It depends on matching a specific rice to a specific method for preparing it. And to be honest, that's an advanced skill about which I know only a little.

 

 

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somethingfunny

Hold on abcdefg, I think you just blew my mind.  What is the difference between boiled and steamed rice?  Here at home I usually make my rice the way Shelley described.  I use basmati rice in a 1:2 ratio with water and boil on a low heat until ready.  The reason I don't use a 'sticky' grain is that I've found that other people don't generally like it, and I'm not really that fussed - at the moment I just want something quick, hassle free and versatile.  But now you're telling me that cooking rice in a rice cooker is actually called steaming??

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Shelley

From what I understand long grain rice is less starchy and so doesn't go all sticky very easily. The easy cook bit is that it has been pre rinsed and as it were even more de-starched (does that word even exist?).

It is supposed to eliminate all the rinsing and makes it much more difficult to over cook and turn into a pile of rice glue:(

 

I have steamers, electric and ones that go on the gas, I have always found steaming rice changes the taste and I don't like it, could this be the type of rice? What rice would anyone recommend for steaming.

 

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abcdefg

Looks like I have made an erroneous assumption. In China everyone I've ever met uses a rice cooker to make rice at home and I thought most of you did it that way too. This is the first appliance young Chinese buy, maybe the only one for several years. This is partly due to ease of use but partly due to not having many burners on which to cook. I've never seen an ordinary kitchen with more than two; sometimes just one. (Even rich friends.) Rice is staple food, eaten with just about every meal.

 

米饭 mifan on a Chinese menu is steamed rice, though a waiter will sometimes ask to confirm that what you want is really 白饭 baifan, to set it clearly apart from fried rice prepared with other added ingredients. A rice cooker produces steamed rice. It starts out at a boil and as the water is absorbed by the grains, the temperature goes down somewhat and the rice steams before shutting off. If you have done it right, all the water cooks into the rice grains and produces a light, fluffy texture. Moist, slightly nutty 口感。

 

One never peeks or opens the lid to stir the rice while it's cooking since that lets steam escape. One never stirs the rice while it's cooking since that breaks grains and makes the end product mushy. Wait patiently until the machine says it's done. For many years in the west I made rice more or less like Somethingfunny is talking about. When I got to China I began using a rice cooker and never looked back. It was a vastly superior method of preparation for Chinese culinary uses.

 

If you want rice to use in other cuisines, such as to make an Italian risotto, a Turkish pilaf, a Spanish paella, or delicate Japanese sushi rolls, you need to use different materials and methods. What I'm explaining in this post is how to make white Chinese rice for daily home use, mainly as a side dish to round out your meal. In other words, basic 米饭。

 

>>" What rice would anyone recommend for steaming."

 

Shelley, you might try using Jasmine rice from Thailand for plain white steamed rice. It's medium grain, mildly sticky, and very fragrant. It's widely available throughout the west.

 

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Shelley
1 minute ago, abcdefg said:

. Moist, slightly nutty 口感。

This is what I don't like - slightly nutty flavour. as nut allergy suffer I find it off putting.

I might just stick to my way of doing rice, if it ain't broke..........

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abcdefg

Shelley, I certainly cannot argue with personal preferences. And if you ever want to try it the Chinese way, you know how to proceed.

 

Here are some pictures of rice that I took at the corner store this afternoon. Large bulk bins. They had a dozen or more other varieties sold prepackaged by weight.

 

It's important in buying rice to make sure it is fresh. Most bags bear the harvest date. It's an item that dries out and deteriorates with age.

 

IMG_20170131_181013.thumb.JPG.aaa9c488ade0edb26643d6746e3d974a.JPG IMG_20170131_181017.thumb.JPG.c308aab5e806a80f0e74a8db2bcd4e2c.JPG 

 

东北大米 (from China's northeast.)

普通大米 (ordinary large grain rice.)

 

IMG_20170131_181026.thumb.JPG.f959fee4a293286bcb1f54b2ef28c1fa.JPGIMG_20170131_181120.thumb.JPG.b19eff471686d6200b04fab2ed299fe0.JPG

秋田小町 (This is a polished, short-grain Japanese-style rice.)

秋燃香米 (This is a medium-grain rice from 安徽。It's the kind

I most often buy, although from a different store.)

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abcdefg

Before putting this topic to rest and moving on to other projects, I'll post a few pictures of my current rice cooker here and briefly address the issue of volumes, by which I mean the ratio of rice to water. How much rice requires how much water to turn out tasty 米饭?

 

This is a Joyoung 九阳 4 liter model, purchased last year.

 

IMG_8902.thumb.JPG.18be2b5fd653b550eb9e4183d995dbfd.JPGIMG_8906.thumb.JPG.a08d7b04bf1c5ae65c9e92c764601d86.JPG

 

It comes with a steamer basket, suitable for vegetables or steamed custards such as the

popular 鸡蛋羹 jidan geng. If you sliver some Chinese sausage directly onto the rice, and cook a

couple eggs as 鸡蛋羹 in the steamer basket all at the same time, you have a ready made

breakfast. If you lay some green veggies 青菜 in the basket as the other items cook, you will be able

to enjoy a simple balanced lunch with minimal prep, minimal fuss and minimal cleanup. Furthermore,

juice from the green vegetables enriches the rice just below.

 

IMG_8904.JPGHere's a closeup look at the control panel.

The orange button, top right, is the one for

everyday rice. 灶烧饭。

 

Top left is 保温 (keep warm) and 取消 (cancel.)

Just below is a button for setting a start time

in the future 预约。

 

Other settings are for 稀饭 (zhou/rice porridge,)

simple steaming 蒸煮, and for slow simmering

soup (堡汤)。

 

Another button is for reheating already-cooked items (热饭)and on the far right is one for fast cooking

items 快煮饭。 (I have never used it; not sure when it would be useful. If you know, please say so.)

 

The heavy cast iron cooking pot is coated with a non-stick material. It is calibrated so you know how much water to use. The cooker comes with a rice-measure cup that holds 180 ml. I generally use two of these and then fill to the "2" water level on the left (for 米饭)。 (The calibrations on the right are for 粥。)

 

IMG_8908.thumb.JPG.5ee95531c0a13b2fab8dfec4fdbade6c.JPGIMG_8909.thumb.JPG.0d8452e7394005a8a783167d1b8a18a2.JPG

 

That's all there is to it. This particular rice cooker cost about 350 Yuan. A huge number of others are available in appliance stores such as Suning 苏宁电器 and in supermarkets such as Walmart 沃尔玛

and 家乐福 Carrefour.

 

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somethingfunny

I need to get a rice cooker.  I don't like the ones they sell here which, now that I think about it, do seem to be more 'boil' than 'steam'.  I know my parents had one where the lid just sat loosely on top and steam would be able to escape during the cooking process.  The worst thing about this is the awful mess it would make.

 

I did use a rice cooker occasionally in China, but I have to confess I more often than not ate out.

 

I did have another question about your rice cakes actually - do you eat them by themselves or do you find they go particularly well with anything else?

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abcdefg

Rice cooker really is a good idea. Mine has very little escaping steam during cooking; the lid fits tight. There is a valve in the center of the top for excess pressure, but it doesn't hiss or bubble.

 

These new ones are so smart that it's embarrassing to be around them. I swear, mine must have a phD. Before this one, I had a different model by Midea 美的 and it also worked well. Gave it to my lady friend, who said she could not live without it. It had been love at first sight. She just could not stop praising it. 

 

The first day I made these rice cakes, I ate them all by themselves. The next day I had them with a fried egg. Both times I was just cooking solo. There may well be some classic combinations, but I'm afraid I don't know what they are yet. I plan to fiddle around with them some more and try them with this and that.

 

Will report back after some time passes. Have not yet made them for any of my Chinese friends. That's the acid test.

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